Monday, March 30, 2009

Falling Stuff 1.0b2

Last summer, during my annual two week vacation, I ended up starting work on a screensaver. It was a remake of an old After Dark screensaver module called Marbles, whereby marbles would fall to the bottom of the screen, only to be met with a set of large pegs. Using a bit of code I had written on a few lazy Sundays before, along with an excellent 2D Physics engine called Box2D, I was able to get a reasonable simulation up and running. It wasn't quite distributable, due to some occasional crashes, some performance issues, etc., so I never released it. Once my vacation ended, development on it slowed way down.

I recently spent a few days finishing up my screensaver project and now have something to show for. I've called it "Falling Stuff", for lack of a better name. For now, it is for MacOS X only, and only for Intel-based Macs at that, although I do have a Windows version pending (which needs polish, among other things). Also note, I have only tested this on OS X 10.5. In theory, it should run on 10.4 though.

The initial release of Falling Stuff, 1.0b2 (beta 1 was only distributed to a few friends) sports the following features:

* Pegs of two shapes
* Marbles of two shapes
* Hot falling action!
* Accelerometer-based gravity for select laptops (most MacBooks, I believe)

Ok, perhaps not much as of yet. :-) I have been thinking of adding some new features, possibly an interactive mode of some sort.

Anyways, here is a quick screenshot:

Falling Stuff 1.0b2 Screenshot

Falling Stuff 1.0b2 is available for download. If you have an Intel-based Mac, I'd love to hear what you think of it. If you have a Windows-based machine, I hope to have the Windows version out soon, although I doubt accelerometer support will be available for such, unless I can get my hands on some decent code and/or libraries to handle this.

To install, download and extract the zip file, then double click on the "Falling Stuff.saver" file. This should launch System Preferences, which'll ask if you'd like to install it. From there, you can either install it just for yourself, or for all users on the system.

Also, a readme/about file is available as well, which contains some info that wasn't covered in this post.